American Patriotic 10

William Allen Wirt Sr.

December 6, 1931 ~ September 10, 2022 (age 90) 90 Years Old


On September 10, 2022, William Allen Wirt (Bill) shuffled off his mortal coil and became one with the ages. He was born December 6, 1931 to Annie Wade Wirt and Roy Washington Wirt who preceded him in death. He outlived two brothers, Roy Wirt, Jr (Linda) and Bobby Wirt (Alice, also deceased) and is survived by one other brother, Donald Wirt (Marla) from Hurst, Texas. An older sister, Marion Williams (James, also deceased) from Salem, VA also went before him. He is also survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Edith James Wirt and two sisters, Rose Dooley (Al) of Bedford and Carole Harrington (Rick) of Houston, TX.

Bill fathered 3 children, William Allen Wirt, II (aka Butch), (Susan), Anthony Dale Wirt and Michele Renea Wirt (Johnny). Allen and Susan gave him 2 grandsons, Matthew Charlton Wirt and Ryan Daniel Wirt, who are proud to carry his legacy of unconditional love, laughter and joy.

Although a long, full, and well lived life cannot really be summarized in this space, the story of Bill Wirt has many highlights that bear telling. Bill was a veteran who served in the Air Force as an Air Policeman. In conversations during his last days at home, he referred to himself as a cop; no doubt flashing back to his service in France and Grand Forks, ND in the 1950’s. During one visit home, this peaceful peace officer surprised his 2nd grade son, William, II (Butch) with a visit to his school. They reveled in each other’s company in the principal’s office while Butch ate his post-lunch banana. Regardless, if it was the time to eat a banana, or discuss a thought, or share a memory, Bill never made you feel rushed. He loved spending time with family, a friend, or anyone who wanted to share; an attitude we could all use today.

As a member of the “Silent Generation” born between 1928 and 1945, his work ethic at Rowe Furniture and General Electric was one of “get the job done”! He retired from GE after several decades of maintenance work at the Salem plant where he knew every inch of the place and often reveled in the fact that he “hooked up every computer in the place but never turned one on.” He also worked with his father laying ceramic tile and later employed his eldest son to “pull the toilets” during his own part-time tile business before going to 2nd shift work at “the plant”. He never stopped moving.

His two heart operations helped keep him moving. A bypass procedure in the eighties and a heart valve replacement several years later kept him vigorous and energetic. His mechanical aortic valve could be heard working if you were close enough to him. He was fond of replying to any question about how he was doing by saying, “I’m still clickin”. His indestructible constitution served him well a few years ago when he slipped on some ice and fractured his leg and wrist. Instead of finishing him off like it might have done to many his age, he bounced back and was seen several months later using his string trimmer as a crutch to move along his yard to the next batch of unkempt grass and trim it up. 

Bill had simple tastes, drove Buick cars and Dodge trucks. He loved Edith’s pinto beans, cornbread and if his aim had been true, some venison roast. The outdoors was where he wanted to be and his perpetual deep tan was one testament to that love of the sunshine. Hunting and camping kept him outdoors along with cutting grass. For many years, he mowed not only his yard, but neighboring yards and his church grounds as well. With his straw hat and coveralls, he was usually out on the tractor keeping the neighborhood tidy. He WAS the LAWNMOWER MAN.

Bill will be missed by a host of friends and family…including many nieces, nephews, and cousins. A memorial service is planned for a later date. Please consider remembering Bill with a contribution to the American Heart Association in his name. Lotz Funeral Home in Salem, Va is handling arrangements.


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